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I was given complimentary access to the Alabama Auto Show as a member of the media. All opinions are 100% my own.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, or if you know me personally, you know I am not an intense car fan. I have not idea what RPMs are and I probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a spark plug and an oxygen sensor. However, I do drive a vehicle every day, and it’s important to me that I can trust in the safety and operation of said vehicle. I’m all for learning opportunities, and attending the Alabama Auto Show this week helped me accomplish my mission to educate myself on what’s new in the automotive industry.Alabama Auto Show Brochure

What is the Alabama Auto Show?

First, you may be wondering exactly what is the Alabama Auto Show. Is it a sales pitch? Will I have to buy a car if I go? Thankfully, the answer to both of those questions is no.

Manufacturer’s reps, product specialists, and local Birmingham Automobile Dealers Association members are in attendance to help with product education, feature comparisons, safety standards, and more. Yes, local car dealership owners will be in attendance and will want to connect with you if you are interested in purchasing a vehicle, but there is no pressure to buy.East Exhibit Hall for 2018 Alabama Auto Show

Perfect for Casual Car Fans

In addition to there being to pressure to buy anything, I didn’t feel like I needed to be a  car fanatic to fit in, either. Sure, there are plenty of incredible luxury brands represented and some amazingly expensive cars, but there are also cars for regular folks like you and me.Many car brands are represented at the 2018 Alabama Auto Show.Mercedes Benz, Lexus, and Maserati are in attendance right alongside Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. The vehicles aren’t just for looking at, either. Visitors are welcome to get in the driver’s seat, back seat, or truck bed to get a good feel for the vehicle if they feel so inclined.

Activities at the Car Show

What else is there to do besides look at cars and talk to people about them? There are plenty of extra activities for adults and kids alike!

  • Several brands, like Ford, Hyundai, and Chevrolet, have racing games at their displays.
  • In the east exhibition hall, a Game Zone video game truck is set up for multiplayer experiences.
  • Hyundai has a “game show” featuring great prizes and other fun entertainment
  • Ford, Toyota, and Chevrolet have vehicles you can test drive for free!

How to Test Drive a Car

Unfortunately, I only had time to test drive one car brand this year and that was Ford. The experience was quick and easy, and I would highly recommend you give it a try if you decide to attend the show!Sign up to test drive a Ford at the 2018 Alabama Auto ShowFirst, head to the designated check-in area at the top of the BJCC stairs in the east exhibition hall. Make sure you have your driver’s license on hand because they will be checking for it! Drivers must be at least 21 to drive, and passengers have to be at least 16 to ride along.Test Drive one of the 3 Toyota vehicles at the Alabama Auto Show.Drivers will fill out a release form, present ID, and get a wristband. Then, head downstairs and outside to the vehicle area. Before the drive can begin, brand representatives will administer a breathalyzer test (a first for me!) and check ID once more. Finally, it will be time to hop in a drive around the block in your chosen vehicle!

Why You’ll Love the Auto Show

As I’ve previously stated, the Alabama Auto Show is a great place to learn about the latest in features and technology for your favorite car brands. Almost all of the brand specialists I spoke to shared that their vehicles now come equipped with cameras on almost all sides as well as lane exiting/entering detection and automatic break application (or at least slowing down in the event of an oncoming collision).Ford's 2018 Bullitt CarI also learned that some cars are now coming equipped with 4G LTE capability for streaming directly in the car, but not all car brands are hopping on board with that. I see both sides of that issue.

We used to own a Volvo (way back before kids), and it was very fancy with its updated computer technology and motherboard controlled engine. However, when that computer inside the car failed, it was not easy or cheap to replace! With so many cell phone provides going to unlimited data, it seems a little extra to me to have that and have a 4G LTE service in your car.Close up of the Bullitt by Ford.Overall, the time I spent at the Alabama Auto Show was informative, exciting, and fun. It’s an inexpensive way to get the family out of the house for the weekend and check out some cool cars!